Democratic Mega-donor Ed Buck 67 Is Jailed For 30 Years
Democratic mega-donor Ed Buck has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of supplying dangerous drugs to gay men - with two overdosing.
The 67-year-old was slapped with the jail term over the deaths of 26-year-old avcılar escort Gemmel Moore and 55-year-old porn actor Timothy Dean.
The judge on Thursday slammed the 'horrific' and 'reprehensible' crimes but refused to lock him away indefinitely.
She said the fact Buck was abused by his father and a priest when he was a child were 'mitigating circumstances'.
Meanwhile the victims' family and friends burst into tears as they gave moving testimony at the court in downtown LA.
Moore's mother LaTisha Nixon said she had warned her boy to stay away from the sick businessman, adding: 'Now all I have is memories and his ashes.'
And Dean's sister Joann Campbell said he had 'taken away my best friend' as she called for him to be dealt the 'most sever punishment possible'.
Buck was last year convicted on charges he injected gay men with methamphetamine in exchange for sex, leading to two deaths and other overdoses.
He was found guilty of all nine felony counts against him, with the verdict coming exactly four years after Moore was found dead in Buck's Hollywood apartment.
Democratic mega-donor Ed Buck (pictured in 2019) has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of supplying dangerous drugs to gay men - with two overdosing
Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old homeless sex- worker was found dead on the floor of Ed Buck's West Hollywood apartment in 2017.
Court documents claimed that Buck 'would insist upon injecting Mr. Moore with crystal methamphetamine' then force him to watch hardcore gay pornography. Moore claimed that Buck got him hooked on meth after supplying him with his first hit. An entry from his personal diary reads: 'I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got munipulated [sic] into slamming (injecting drugs) again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2day [sic] period.
This man is crazy and its [sic] sad. Will I ever get help?'
Another black man, Timothy Dean, 55, was found dead in Ed Buck's home in January 2019.
Like many others in the gay community, Dean struggled with addiction to crystal meth but was on the path to recovery
In addition to a treasure chest full of sex toys, cops searching Buck's apartment found a red Craftsman tool box that stored drugs and paraphernalia including 24 syringes, multiple glass pipes, lighters, a scale, straw, and Ziploc bag of 'crystal-like substance.' They also discovered hundreds of graphic photos and videos that he took of men he paid to inject meth while naked inside his West Hollywood apartment
Family of Timothy Dean - including his sisters Doris Jackson (left) and Joyce Jackson (far right) - celebrate on courthouse steps after Ed Buck was sentenced to life in prison Thursday
Dane Brown, a surviving victim, speaks outside LA courthouse after Thursday's sentencing
Judge Christina Snyder today dished out his sentence, telling him his crimes were 'horrific', adding: 'What happened here is reprehensible conduct.
All lives matter.'
Prosecutors had earlier urged the judge to impose a life sentence, but Buck's attorney, Mark Werksman, asked for 10 years.
Judge Snyder, noting 'mitigating circumstances' - including him being sexually abused by his father and a priest as a child - said life would be 'overly punitive'.
She sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison, to run concurrently, for the two counts of distributing methamphetamine resulting in the deaths of Moore and Dean.
She sentenced him to 20 years, to run concurrently with the 30 years already handed out, for each of four counts of distributing methamphetamine, two counts of 'enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution' and one of 'maintaining a drug involved premises'.
Ahead of sentencing, the court heard the emotional testimony from the friends and families of the victims.
They all pleaded with the judge to slap him with the harshest punishment she could hand out.
Moore's mother Nixon said: 'This man killed my son - Judge Snyder, please give this man the longest sentence allowed by law.'
She added: 'I warned him to stay away from Buck - now all I have is memories and his ashes.'
Ed Buck was a prominent Democratic donor and political activist who gave more than $500,000 to party elites including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Congressmen Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu plus many others.
The 67-year-old is currently awaiting sentencing after being convicted of nine felony charges in the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean during fetish sex sessions
Ed Buck, a wealthy gay rights activist and Democrat donor, was convicted on Monday of injecting gay men with methamphetamine in drugs-for-sex fetish that led to two deaths and other overdoses.
Buck, seen in September 2010, was found guilty of all nine felony counts
Dean's sister Campbell said: 'My brother was loved, caring funny and he loved life. He was more than a brother to me - he was my best friend.
'All of that was taken away from us by Ed Buck.
You give this man the most sever punishment possible.'
His other sister Joyce Jackson said: 'I never expected to bury my baby brother. How we miss him. My prayer is to give this man the maximum there is to give him.'
One of his close friends Cory McLean turned to Buck when he addressed the court today.
He said: 'You need to go to jail for as long as possible because you are not sorry for the things you have done.
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'You need to have those shackles on you. You are a monster…..a menace to society.' McLean said the attorney asking for only 10 years was like 'spit in our face'.
He added: 'I ask the court to give him the maximum.'
Judge Snyder then called on Buck himself, with him telling the court he wanted 'to apologize for the tragic deaths' of Moore and Dean.
He said: 'These were men I cared for and loved.
I would never do them harm. Their deaths were a tragedy - but I did not cause their deaths.
'I would like to go back and change things, and if I could I would.'
He highlighted his philanthropy and the work he has done for gay rights, AIDS research, animal welfare and getting a ban on fur in LA, as mitigating attributes.
He continued: 'I ask the court to take a look at my life in total.
For better than half of it, I have been in service. I am not the horrible… killer the government says I am.'
Buck said whatever his sentence he would still 'pursue legal challenges', indicating that he's likely to appeal today's 30-year jail term.
A jury found Buck guilty last July of all nine felony counts against him despite him pleading not guilty to all charges.
Federal prosecutors said Buck - a white man - paid men, most of them black, and provided drugs in return for sex acts after hunting online for partners with the familiar term 'PnP' - 'party and play', or using methamphetamine, then having sex.
Survivors said that Buck had a fetish for injecting his sex partners with drugs.
His defense lawyers argued that neither fatal overdose victim died from meth and that many of his victims were drug addicts.
It took four years to bring Buck to justice.
Moore died on Buck's floor in West Hollywood in 2017. And when there was no arrest, angry activists protested outside his apartment
Even after Dean died 18 months later, it took another nine months and the near-death of another overdose victim before Buck was arrested in September 2019.
Family members of his victims had pushed for Buck's arrest since Moore's death and claimed that he escaped criminal charges for years because he's white, wealthy and had political ties.
Buck was active in gay causes and animal rights issues and his Facebook page showed him with Hillary Clinton, former California governor Jerry Brown and US Representatives Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff.
His contributions to Democrat politicians and causes from 2005 to 2017 totaled $433,500, according to the New York Times.
Earlier at today's hearing, Buck's lawyer, Werksman, called the deaths of Moore and Dean 'tragic accidents.' And he described Buck's victims as 'male prostitutes who were there to do drugs and have sex. They were consulting adults'.
Werksman told the court that there were 'two Ed Bucks.
The first is the comic-book, super villain, sociopathic sexual deviant portrayed by the government.'
The other Ed Buck, he said, was a philanthropist and campaigned for gay rights who is 'redeemable and worthy and deserves compassion.'
Attorney, Chelsea Norell, countered, telling the court that when Timothy Dean overdosed, Buck did not call 911 immediately, but rather cleaned up syringes, pipes and other drug paraphernalia that was in sight.
'Instead of using that precious time to save Timothy Dean, he used that time to clean up pipes and syringes,' she said.
Of Werksman's claim that Buck's victims were male prostitutes, Norell told Judge Snyder, 'Labeling someone a sex worker does not give you a pass to commit sexual assault.'
She added that Buck was 'not deterred' by the deaths of Moore and Dean, nor of other overdoses that required hospitalization.
Dane Brown, left, a surviving victim, and LaTisha Nixon, Gemmel Moore's mother (middle), and friends and family of the victims rejoice in the guilty verdict for Ed Buck last year
Atty. Lindsay Bailey hugs surviving victim Dane Brown following the two-week trial last year
'He will continue to be a danger to the community till the day he dies. This is not a man we will ever be able to trust in the community.'
As for Buck's well-known reputation as a philanthropist and campaigner for gay rights and animal causes, Norell said he used this public persona to lure unsuspecting victims to his drug lair.
'He was a wolf in sheep's clothing,' she said.
Norell tried to persuade Judge Snyder to lock up Buck until he died , telling the court.
'Nothing less than a life sentence would account for the seriousness of his crimes, she said.
'I urge the court to consider the message a life sentence will send.'
After telling the court earlier in today's sentencing hearing that she was 'somewhat persuaded that 300 months (25 years) would be sufficient in this case,' Judge Snyder ended up increasing the sentence to 360 months (30 years).
Referring to the 'terrible damage' Buck caused, the judge added, 'These were horrific crimes.
They were more than just accidents.'